Guest Author - Eugene Bradford
The Immortal: Demon in the Blood is a new four-issue mini-series from Dark Horse Comics. I spotted this title in the October issue of Previews. If you are unaware of what Previews is, it’s a monthly catalog detailing comic shop releases two months later. These items include comics, graphic novels, toys, statues, gaming supplies, and so many other related items. This allows fans of the various products to pre-order them. The solicitation for The Immortal piqued my interest. Also, I am a fan of Dark Horse Comics, as they have published many titles over the years of which I have enjoyed.
Demon in the blood is adapted from the Japanese novel Ura-Enma from Fumi Nakamura. The script for this adaptation is provided by Ian Edginton, pencils by Vicenc Villagrasa, inks and colors by Joes Luis Rio, and the lettering by Michael Heisler. The lead, Amane Ichinose, is a samurai and a spy in 1859. The story follows him as his role as a spy is uncovered.
The oni-gome is a tattoo placed on a person’s dominant hand when he or she holds a great desire within the heart. Anyone with knowledge of Japanese folklore will recognize the word “oni” as the word for demon. When a person desires something, the oni-gome acts to invite a demon into the wearer’s body and grants the person his or hers aspiration. Not unexpectedly, this comes with a curse.
Our protagonist, Amane, was found near-death by Baikou Houshou, and desired life above all else. Baikou, who became the greatest tattoo artist ever after allowing his body to become home to an oni, extended the same benefit to Amane. In exchange for immortality, Amane will never have happiness. Baikou is dying and passes on his knowledge to Amane.
Visually, I wasn’t impressed. There is some samurai action, but nothing that outshines anything that I or you have come across in the past. Looking at the lettering, I had a problem with the sound effects. The choice of colors for the sound effects seems odd. The bright yellow, green, and oranges throw off the darker tone, story and color-wise, of the rest of the book.
I pre-ordered this book based on what I read in the solicitation. This is the first issue of a series, so I expect it to take time to set-up the entire story, which it does. I have pre-ordered the next couple of issues as I am curious to see what happens. I would recommend to any curious people to wait for the trade paperback.
I purchased this comic with my own funds.